7/18/11: Just got out of the doctor’s office, so I want to write down news to my family and friends before I forget.  I had seen an oncologist on 6/24 who wasn’t clear how to treat my case since is it so specialized.  He referred me to MD Anderson Cancer Center.   Today I went there to see Dr. Monica Loghin, a neuro-oncologist who immediately impressed me as smart, to the point and personal.  After reviewing the pathology report prepared at MD Anderson, she gave a slightly different view of S’More.

She explained I have a mixed tumor type “oligodendroglioma and astrocytoma” (which I knew from Austin) and it is high grade, or aggressive (that I didn’t know). There are three levels (grades) for the oligo, three being the worst. “You have a three.” The astrocyoma has four levels, fourth being the worst. “You have a three.” That means if I did nothing the tumor would regrow in 6 months to a year.  That’s pretty fast.   With treatment, there’s a life expectancy of five years.  She then immediately corrected any misconception that I’m the “typical person”.  In fact, they found I have genetic markers indicating the tumor should be responsive to radiation/chemothery and after treatment I should live longer than the “typical” type of patient.  So… now I’ll go to see a radiation specialist to find out if I need radiation, chemotherapy or both (and for how long).  That’s the facts.

As this information sinks into my new reality I don’t feel any different.  I keep waiting for an unknown case of denial to come crashing down. Perhaps after the first wave of chemo/radiation hits me?  Hmm.  That’s another day.  All I know is, today I’m one step farther with knowledge, one step closer to the treatment and my garden just produced a mega-ton of okra.  On top of that I have vacation in Cali with my cuz Andy!  Too much good to be sad.

Just got a call from Dr. Loghin as I type… no radiation because the tumor is too close to important areas.  I’m to have chemo, for probably a year.  ….. waiting…..nope, no crashing denial.   All I can think of is fried okra and California in two days … yes, today was definitely a good day.

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